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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Weekly Radio Alert
  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
June 9, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Commanders Reportedly Execute Syrian Officers (NOW-Lebanon)
    Iranian commanders overseeing the Assad regime's fighting efforts south of Idlib have executed three Syrian army officers, the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi reported.
    According to the report, Syrian "officers responsible for military operations in the Jourin area are under the command of Iranian officers."
    A Free Syrian Army commander said, "The recent execution has caused a state of fear and terror among remaining regime troops."
    Abu Said, an activist in the Latakia region, said, "Morale is very low among regime soldiers; in fact, it has become non-existent since the Iranian officers took over the operations room."

ISIS Sets Its Sights on Saudi Arabia - Kristin Roberts (National Journal-Defense One)
    In May there were two suicide bombings targeting Shiites in Sunni Saudi Arabia, both claimed by ISIS.
    In Dammam on the Saudi eastern coast, a man dressed as a woman blew himself up outside a Shiite mosque and killed three others. (The attack would have been far more devastating had guards not stopped the bomber from entering the mosque, forcing him back into a parking lot.)
    Eight days earlier, an attack on another Shia mosque in Al Qadeeh killed 21.
    "They certainly are significant," says Mike Singh, former senior director for Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.
    "These attacks seem designed to exacerbate sectarian divisions, precisely as ISIS has sought to do elsewhere."
    ISIS wants to encourage Sunni-Shia hostility throughout the Muslim world because it fits its caliphatic goals.

Hamas Leader: We Want All of Palestine (Alresalah-Gaza)
    Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said Sunday that Hamas refuses a Palestinian state within the 1967 or 1948 territories, saying, "Our policy is Palestine, all of Palestine."

Pre-Schoolers with Toy Guns Parade in West Bank Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony (MEMRI-TV)
    On June 1, a kindergarten graduation ceremony at Anabta in the West Bank was broadcast on Al-Sheraa TV.
    In it, pre-schoolers wearing uniforms and carrying toy guns performed a song:
    "If you stretch your hand, it will be chopped off. If you just look with your eye, it will be gouged out....You come to this land alive, but you will leave it as body parts."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Jerusalem Passport Law - Ariane de Vogue
    In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal statute Monday that allowed Americans born in Jerusalem to record in their passport "Israel" as the place of birth. For the last 60 years, U.S. policy has been to recognize no state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the opinion, held that the President has the exclusive power to grant formal recognition to a foreign sovereign.
        In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "The statue at issue does not implicate recognition" but "simply gives an American citizen born in Jerusalem the option to designate his place of birth as Israel for the purposes of passports and other documents." Justice Antonin Scalia, who also dissented, said the law at issue "merely requires the State Department to list a citizen's birthplace as Israel" and does not require the President to make "any other kind of legal commitment."  (CNN)
        See also U.S. Jewish Groups Slam Court Decision on Jerusalem - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
    Major American Jewish organizations expressed dismay at Monday's Supreme Court ruling that American citizens born in Jerusalem may only list their birthplace as Jerusalem, rather than as Jerusalem, Israel. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said: "We do not believe that Jerusalem-born American citizens having Israel on their passport would impinge on future negotiations or compromise the role of the United States. Tens of thousands of Americans are affected by this decision."  (Times of Israel)
  • IAEA: Nuclear Inspectors Will Need Access to Iran for Years - Laurence Norman
    UN inspectors must be permitted access to suspect Iranian sites, including possible military ones, for "years and years" to restore confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, Yukiya Amano, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Monday. "We will continue these activities for quite a prolonged period of time and then, after making our efforts, we come to the point when we can provide credible assurance that there is no indication of activities other than peaceful activities," he said. "This is a long process and full cooperation from the country is needed."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • UN Keeps Israel Off List of Worst Child Rights Violators
    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's latest list of parties that kill or injure children in armed conflict does not include Israel. The UN special envoy for children in armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, had recommended that both Israel and Hamas be placed on the list of parties that recruit, use, kill, maim or commit acts of sexual violence against children. UN officials said there were differences of opinion on whether Israel should be listed - a key reason why it wasn't and neither was Hamas.
        Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor said Ban "was right not to submit to the dictates of the terrorist organizations and the Arab states" and include Israel on a "shameful list" with organizations like the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. (AP-CBS News)
  • France Charges 15 with Planning Jihadist Attacks on French Jews
    Prosecutors in Paris presented their case against 15 defendants accused of planning jihadist attacks on French Jews and other targets in a trial against members of the banned terrorist group Forsane Alizza that began Monday. Among the targets were five Jewish supermarkets of the Hyper Cacher chain and several other Jewish businesses. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: The Palestinians Ran Away from Negotiations
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek on Monday: "We want two states for two peoples: a Jewish nation state - Israel - living in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state. Unfortunately, the Palestinians don't negotiate. They ran away from negotiations. They ran away from Barak; they ran away from Sharon; they ran away from Olmert; they ran away from me....They refuse to negotiate and then try to get boycotts on Israel for there not being negotiations which they refuse to enter."
        "We have to get back to direct negotiations without preconditions. I think it's important that the international community stop giving the Palestinians a free pass."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • CIA Chief Makes Secret Visit to Israel Ahead of Iran Deal - Barak Ravid
    CIA Director John Brennan came to Israel last Thursday for a secret visit dealing mainly with the Iran nuclear agreement and Iran's involvement in terror and subversion throughout the Middle East, two senior Israeli officials said. On Monday, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, landed in Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Time to Be Honest about Israel's Capital - Frida Ghitis
    In every reasonable, logical way, the capital of Israel is Jerusalem. That is where the seat of government resides, where the country's parliament stands and legislates and where the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet have their offices and meet.
        On Monday, America's top court ruled on the case of 12-year-old Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in Jerusalem and wanted his passport to state Israel as his country of birth. The Supreme Court sided with the Obama administration, denying the boy's request.
        Official U.S. policy says the status of Jerusalem is unresolved, subject to the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But while this position is based on the laudable wish to avoid harming the prospects for peace, there are surely better ways to achieve the same goal without denying reality. (CNN)
        See also Hundreds of Thousands of Israelis Live in Jerusalem, Earth - Jordana Brown
    Six Supreme Court Justices from the U.S. just informed me that I am a resident of Jerusalem, Earth, and not a resident of Israel, as I previously believed. What has been universally regarded as the capital of the Jewish homeland for 67 (and over 3,000) years is suddenly in no man's land, instead of home to hundreds of thousands of Israelis. So Jerusalem, the city mentioned in the Bible almost 700 times and never once in the Koran, is apparently not to be considered the capital of the Jewish state. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Ugly Effort to Boycott Israel - Richard Cohen
    Some of the vexation with Israel comes from an appalling ignorance of the region's realities. Israel is forever threatened with war, forever under siege and forever regretting accommodations that cost it land. Gaza went from an occupied territory to a launching pad for countless rockets; and the Golan Heights, had it been returned to Syria as so many demanded, might now be intimidatingly close to Islamic State territory. (Washington Post)

The Unfortunate Supreme Court Decision on Jerusalem - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)

  • By siding with the administration in the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the executive branch's constitutional power to recognize foreign governments.
  • In this instance, that meant allowing the president to declare that, contrary to an act of Congress as well as the facts on the ground, he is entitled to pretend that the city of Jerusalem isn't the capital of Israel or even part of the Jewish state.
  • Due to an awkward diplomatic dance it has been conducting since 1948, the U.S. has never recognized that Jerusalem is part of Israel. The administration thinks being upheld by the Court on this point is good for America because it allows it to continue maintaining the fiction that Jerusalem isn't part of Israel.
  • So long as the U.S. is encouraging the Palestinians to think they can have a portion of Israel's capital as part of a Palestinian state - including mostly 40-year-old neighborhoods where hundreds of thousands of Jews live - they'll never come to terms with the fact that they are going to have to accept a compromise and leave those people in place and allow the city to remain united.
  • This makes a resolution on Jerusalem even less likely to happen in the foreseeable future.

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